What is a compensation study?

A compensation study is a review of current pay practices and salaries compared to similar organizations. These studies determine market value of each position, propose equitable salary ranges and ensure internal pay parity that can attract, engage and retain employees.

Why are we doing a compensation study?

To see how competitive the City’s pay and benefits are for employees when compared to peer organizations. A good compensation study enables the City to make better decisions when changing or updating the salary schedule, deciding on new or updated benefits, and/or other compensation decisions.

Will a compensation study change my job?

No. Compensation studies help provide information on appropriate wage rates for existing jobs and existing job duties.

If the compensation study finds an employee's salary is higher than is deemed appropriate, will the employee’s salary be lowered to be in line with the market grade?

No. The City will not reduce any existing pay, regardless of what the study finds. The City is committed to implementing the findings of the compensation study without reducing wages for any employees.

What happens during a compensation study?

Compensation studies are typically conducted by an external evaluator- a consultant hired by the City. That consultant will evaluate our existing job classifications against comparable positions at other organizations through a process that typically includes:

  • Development of goals and a scope of work with input from employees at every level of the organization.
  • Research to define, value, and analyze market data to show how the City compares to other organizations in the market.
  • Internal position descriptions are matched to external jobs with similar responsibilities to identify market rate for each position.
  • Data is collected from multiple sources to determine average compensation for specific positions/classifications. (This step may also include an analysis for full compensation package including benefits, retirement, and other non-salary benefits.)
  • HR will share the information and recommendations with decision makers and employees at every level of the City.

When was a compensation study last completed at the City of Madison?

A compensation study was completed in the mid-1990’s.

Who is doing the compensation study?

The Human Resources Department will contract with an outside consultant to perform this study.

How can I make sure my current job duties are considered?

The compensation study will rely, in part, on position descriptions for each job. Your job duties must be accurately described in the position description for your job. If you do not have an updated position description, please submit a new position description to your supervisor for review after reading these instructions. HR will need all position descriptions completed by the end of the year, so please do this by December 1, 2023.

What is the timeline for completing the compensation study?

Human Resources will develop and publish a request for proposals (RFP) in June of 2023 to choose a vendor to complete a compensation study. Further work on implementing the compensation study will continue in 2023 after a vendor is selected. The study is expected to extend into 2024, and we intend to have results from the compensation study by the end of 2024. The results will be published organizationally, and then recommendations for changes needed will need to go to the Mayor and Common council for review, action, and implementation through the City’s budget process.

When can employees expect to see any changes from the compensation study?

  • Specific changes and their effective date will be dependent upon the timeline of the results of the study, with any actual implementation requiring budget approval by the Mayor and Common Council.
  • Implementation of any recommendations often requires multiple budget cycles.

Where can I ask more questions?

Please reach out to us at HR@cityofmadison.com.

Participate in our Compensation Study Input Session 

The City is beginning a compensation study, which is a review of current pay practices and salaries compared to similar organizations. This listening session will be an opportunity to hear more about the process the City is going through, and to give input on long term issues with the City’s compensation plan and how it is managed. The session will start with an explanation of what a compensation study is, and will dive into the timeline, prior to getting employee feedback. 

May 3 | 1:00 - 2:00pm

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